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Virginia Ethics Reform May Not Go Far Enough, Expert Says

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With former Republican governor Bob McDonnell and his wife facing 14 counts of public corruption, ethics reform was at the top of the agenda as lawmakers gathered in Richmond this year. But, so far, the effort is leaving many with the feeling that more could be done.

"Asking lawmakers to regulate themselves is appealing to the lawmakers, but it may fall short of the kind of reforms that a lot of people would be looking for," says Stephen Farnsworth, professor at the University of Mary Washington.

Farnsworth says an advisory council that would be created by the bill could play an important role by reviewing and posting disclosure forms. But the $250 limit on gifts might be a problem if the limit applies to individual items rather than the total amount that lobbyists can give.

"A gift cap and an advisory council is really the minimum that would need to be done to tighten the rules," Farnsworth says.

For example, Farnsworth says, online reporting could be required so that lawmakers disclose investments and gifts in real time rather than once a year.

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2 Stolen Van Goghs Recovered By Anti-Mafia Police In Italy

The two paintings — of a seascape and of a congregation at a churchwere stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2002. "They are the real paintings!" a curator said in a statement.
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A Growing Champagne Trend Is Uncorking More Ways To Celebrate

Champagne shouldn't be just for special occasions, says wine writer David White. He explains how to choose it, how to pair it with food and how small growers are changing the industry.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - September 30, 2016

D.C.'s statehood activists rally while the Council opens debate on a state constitution. An appeals court reviews Virginia's voter ID law. And Prince George's County contends with a spate of incidents involving sexual abuse of school kids.

NPR

Crisis Mapping Pioneer Focuses On Humanitarian Uses For Drones

Patrick Meier pioneered the field of crisis mapping during the 2010 Haiti earthquake, compiling information to create a real time map of damage. Now he's focusing on humanitarian uses of drones.

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